You would think that those baggage fees and increased fares would buy a little more friendliness when you’re flying but according to Consumer Reports (via The Dallas Morning News), it’s the low-cost airlines (aka the ones who don’t take you hostage by piling up additional fees) that have found a way to offer the cheapest fares and the best customer satisfaction.
According to a customer survey, Southwest Airlines offered the best service with JetBlue coming in second. US Airways finished last of the 10 airlines and for the most part, the larger airlines finished near the bottom with smaller airlines finishing near the top.
It isn’t clear whether the correlation is simply that customers enjoy flying low-cost airlines because they are saving money or if it’s because those airlines offer a better all-around experience. In many cases, it’s a win-win as some of the low-cost tactics used by airlines, are also preferred by customers (i.e.- easy self-check in, no assigned seats etc.).
I personally prefer flying low-cost airlines because I fly simply to get from one point to another and don’t need first class seating or a huge network of smaller airports that some of the bigger airlines have access too. Some people need this but for me, it’s all about convenience and price savings. It will be interesting to see how the trend toward low-cost flying will ultimately affect the larger airlines who are having a hard time staying profitable without increasing fares. With their dominance in the lucrative international routes, they aren’t going anywhere but customer demand will ultimately force the issue for many airlines, especially on the increasing costs of domestic flying.